Since its construction 109 years ago, Pasadena’s iconic Colorado Street Bridge has tragically attracted suicide attempts. This prompted The Department of Public Works to add a 10-foot barrier in 2016, while the City considered more permanent options to deterrence. Now the City has placed mockups of three proposed barriers on the bridge for public comment.
Each of those options is a vertical barrier that impairs views of the bridge and degrades the experience of walking it.
The Board of Directors of Pasadena Beautiful strongly urges the City to consider a horizontal barrier, such as the one designed for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge by the same engineering firm that Pasadena has engaged for the Colorado Street Bridge project. A horizontal net barrier suffers none of the drawbacks of the vertical designs; it wouldn’t detract from views or intrude on the walking experience. San Francisco supplements the net with paid and volunteer bridge patrols and has phones on the bridge, wired to a suicide prevention hotline. There is no reason that Pasadena couldn’t implement a similar program.
We believe the City dismissed the option of a horizontal barrier without adequately analyzing it, instead offering fact-free assertions that would-be suicides would have to be physically removed from it, while thrill-seekers would repeatedly be seeking to jump from it. The Colorado Street Bridge surely merits, and the community of Pasadena deserves, that the City consider a horizontal barrier that would deter suicides while respecting the aesthetics of our treasured bridge.
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